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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok... So, my thoughts about this subject are quite disorganized; I'll dump everything I can think of onto this page, lest I'll forget or even postpone seeking advice.....

The vast majority of my friends and family are self-confessed non-readers, or pursue reading exclusively as entertainment while neglecting its intellectual avenues (themes, connecting to a larger meaning, historical context...).

My grandfather, a genuinely intelligent man, read extensively as a youth, but stopped abruptly in his early adulthood for personal reasons -- even going so far as disposing of his entire library. Likewise, his son (my father) stopped reading upon graduating from high school in the 1970s; he reads noticeably slow, and revisits sentences after reading them. Many other of my family members outside this patrilineal trend exhibited similar patterns.

As a youth, I read and wrote enthusiastically. My library primarily consisted of children's fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience; English and Language Arts were my favourite subjects in elementary school. During this time, I understood the material by visualizing the images, and silently mouthing the words as I read. I also created an emotional bond with the characters by envisioning myself as them, and expressing what I read, often in extreme detail and subjectivity, in little journals.

During my adolescence, I slowly drifted away from reading; I still adored English class (and any reading/writing intensive class -- they were havens from the impersonal math and science classes), and wrote passionately. Even though my reading activity waned, I naturally excelled in the Humanities/Social Sciences, and my teachers regularly complimented me on my unique, and somewhat poetic, writing style.

After graduating from high school, I enrolled in university but left after a few months. Shortly thereafter, I suffered from clinical depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder for several years. During that time, I felt stripped of my identity; consequently, all my hobbies disappeared and I remained idle. That's when my reading activity fully stopped.

I could barely read past the few introductory pages in a simple novel during my depression; my focus was elsewhere. However, I continued writing -- albeit more literally and scientifically. It was during that time I became much of what I am normally not: judgmental, confrontational, social, literal, focused on the present...

Once the haze lifted, I started reading once again, but the experience felt less fulfilling -- even tedious. I remember taking over 2 hours to read a 20-page chapter of a horror novel. The poetic appeals also escaped me, and I found them almost annoying. However, I appreciated the visuals the novel painted.

I also started to visualize less while reading. Instead, I literally hear the word in my mind. Sometimes, I am not even "dedicated" to reading; I'll begin a few sentences, but my mind will wander about something else, or I'll have difficulty recalling what I just read.

Similarly to my father, I read slower than average, and reread sentences more than once to solidify my understanding. (Sometimes I'll read the sentence again right after reading it).

I am currently completing a few math and science courses in an adult high school, and my reading "difficulties" never interfere with my academic performance. Indeed, I think I read in a more disciplined manner in school due to the expectations and evaluations, rather than recreationally.

Even though I desire to read and expose myself to the diversity of thought, I don't remain dedicated to fulfilling my desires; I barely read more than 1/4 of a book now, and I frequently purchase books, only for them to sit on my bookshelf collecting dust -- never opened, never read.

Can anyone offer advice as to why I might be behaving like this, and why my reading approach has shifted?
 

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A couple of ideas...

These are just general ideas that you could possibly investigate further to see if either or both are explanations:

1. Puberty -> There is something to be said for the changes from adult into childhood that could affect your interests and passions. There are possibly some psychological changes that happen at this time in one's life.

2. Your emotional problems -> There is also the possibility that whatever triggered your depression, anxiety and bipolar issues may also have been a culprit to your shifting reading habits. This would be something to explore with a counselor or therapist I'd think as there could be dangerous stuff found in working through this stuff.

As a suggestion, consider trying other formats of information and see if something new clicks,e.g. audio books or silent movies. While you may no longer enjoy reading like you once did, maybe there is something else that will replace it and be even better somehow.
 

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Something I noticed when I became more reclusive, is that my ability to comprehend, recall and structure words shifted dramatically. I talked to less people, did less reading (multiple paragraphs), whereas before I was an avid reader.

Do you spend a lot of time online? I once read somewhere that many people seem to lose interest/the ability to read long passages of words after maintaining a routine of only skimming through basic things (particularly from internet usage I read).

Interestingly I see a few similarities in my experiences to yours. I don't read much fiction anymore (could that be tied in your case to visualisation?). Perhaps it requires less energy to read non fiction than fiction. Or there is something about depression that leads to less dependence on certain parts of the brain regarding language/visualistion etc.

Enough of my rambling; have you considered add? do you find you can read better when you are relaxed and not feeling any pull of stress, anxiety etc? what happens when you get through 1/4 of the book... do you stop because it requires too much energy to read, or because you get bored?...

What's your speech like? do you forget words or their meaning regularly or often? do you talk to people very much? how much time do you spend only briefly reading or skimming through things, and has that been a routine for some time now?

Do you still experience depression?
 

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Interesting.
I tend to lose concentration when reading for long periods of time and it takes me at least a week or more to finish a 200 - 300 page book.
The only reason I can comprehend for why it takes so long for me too read a book is because I want to get as much information out of as possible and by not rushing the book I can then easily transfer the information from my short-term memory to my long-term memory.

But the problem is that one reason could explain the other and vice-versa. So which came first? The loss of concentration or wanting to get the most out of the book?

(I'm probably explaining this wrong)
 

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That sounds a lot like me. I'm not sure why this has happened. I believe part of it (for me at least) may be being forced to read for school and trying to remember every little detail for fear that it may be on a test. That sucked the fun out of reading for me. Depression and using the internet could also be contributing to this problem for the both of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The only reason I can comprehend for why it takes so long for me too read a book is because I want to get as much information out of as possible and by not rushing the book I can then easily transfer the information from my short-term memory to my long-term memory.
I identify with your reading approach! During my depression, however, I became excessively perfectionistic. Whenever I attempted reading, I'd become dissatisfied with my understanding of the material, even if I only read 2 paragraphs, and I would repeat reading until I fully understood what the author was conveying.

Obviously, I never attained those high standards, and thus I only dug myself deeper in "failure". My perspective has since changed, but I still don't commit myself fully to reading.

Nice username :happy:
 
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